Tuesday, May 02, 2006

AFIC – Time Will Tell

The new AFIC executive has been announced. And once again, it looks like an episode of bro'Town.

No, there aren’t any Maori or Indo-Chinese persons on the board. But there are plenty of bros. And no sisters.

And the bros are all elderly. I doubt any of them were born in Australia. It remains to be seen whether any of them can speak English.

As we have come to expect, there were no women elected to the executive. It is unlikely any women will be appointed to the executive.

Further, the new executive is dominated by people who couldn’t exactly be described as young people or persons born and/or brought up in Australia on the executive. Once again, we can say with some confidence that the real composition of Australian Muslims is probably better represented at an Anglican Church synod than at an AFIC exec meeting.

The new president is Rahim Ghauri, a Perth-based chap. The vice president is Dr Waqar Ahmad from the Northern Territory, one of the authors of a document entitled “Worrell Report Recommendations" which was leaked to thousands of Muslims across the country.

The secretary is Harun Abdullah. I have heard on the grapevine that Mr Abdullah is an Anglo-Australian convert. I sure hope so. We tend not to see any of those in peak body organisations. Well, apart from the Islamic Council of Victoria and the Canberra Islamic Centre.

Once again, we see an opportunity wasted. As always, the AFIC exec is dominated by middle aged, first generation migrant men. Women and young Australians are ignored.

According to the 1 May 2006 edition of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, the new AFIC exec have announced it will be setting up a youth wing. Presumably this will operate in a similar fashion to, say, the youth wings of major political parties.

(I sure hope it isn’t like the NSW Young Libs. Otherwise it will probably more resemble al-Qaida!)

Existing youth bodies already exist. Most have arisen spontaneously in response to individual efforts. Instead of seeking to reinvent the wheel, AFIC would be better served working with existing youth groups and providing them with guidance and funding.

Or given AFIC’s own problems with corporate governance and workplace relations issues, perhaps it could focus its attention on getting its house in order.

Time will tell if Muslim Australians will enjoy the benefits of having a functional national body.

© Irfan Yusuf 2006

Stumble Upon Toolbar